WATCH: A barge donated by the navy fell through and now the Living Oceans Society is trying to raise money to cover cost. Monica Martinez reports.
The ocean is full of garbage, debris the Living Oceans Society is working to clean up.
For months, the group has been collecting and bagging debris up and down Vancouver Island, And in September, a helicopter will lift those bags to a barge, in what will be the biggest marine cleanup in Canadian history.
“We are looking at bringing in about 40 tonnes of debris, that’s several hundred bags full of debris,” said Karen Wristen, Living Oceans Society executive director.
But the ambitious operation has hit rough water.
The navy donated the tug boat, but had to withdraw due to operational requirements, leaving the non-profit group in a funding shortfall.
Wristen said it costs about $35,000 for tug alone.
“Plus the groups have been so active collecting debris that we are going to need a lot more helicopter time than we had planned and that comes at a cost of about $1200/hour so we really do need some help in funding this operation,” she said.
The tug will deliver the garbage to a recycling facility in Steveston harbour.
Five years after the Japanese tsunami, a lot of debris is still washing up on our coast.
“Last year, almost everything last year of Japanese origin whether it was from the tsunami or not one can’t really say,” said Wristen.
Annie Gibson with the Surfrider Foundation said she was shocked to see so much plastic.
“Plastic is toxic. We don’t want to eat plastic and marine life tends to find plastic and considers it food and they will eat it often times, so it’s not good to have plastic in marine life,” she said.
The Living Oceans Society needs help to complete the largest collection of marine debris ever attempted in Canada.
To donate, click here.